Bills are one of the most frustrating things about being an adult. Searching online for a way to get extra money to help pay the bills isn't uncommon. They can add up fast.
What gets a lot of honest, hardworking people is that their bills may leave them with not much of a cushion, meaning that any out-of-the-ordinary financial event could set you back for several months. If you only have an extra $200/month after everything is paid, then a surprise medical bill pops up, you could deplete your savings and go into debt very quickly.
Even if you do pay your bills regularly, it doesn’t take much for things to get difficult. An unexpected expense can quickly dip into the money you need for bills. Some bills may end up being much higher than you expected, which is yet another complication. Air conditioning during the summer can skyrocket your electricity costs. A spring utility bill for me might be $80, while a peak-heat-summer bill can be over $250 if I run the AC regularly.
Thankfully, you’re not out of options, especially in the online space. There are plenty of different ways to get extra money for your bills. The internet has made many new money-making strategies available. Some are one-time fixes, some are temporary income increases, and some can even boost your income permanently for years to come. They all have potential, so keep reading below to see which ones will work for you.
Get Extra Money From Your Current Job
If you’re employed, your job is already how you make money. So, why not earn a little extra from it?
1. Do Some Overtime
Overtime is always a good way to earn, especially if your company pays at a higher rate for overtime. Even if the work isn’t normally offered, you can often pick up extra hours by offering to do shifts that no one else wants to.
This includes working in the holidays. While the idea mightn’t be appealing, some people do so and simply shift their celebration out a day or two. If you do this for holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas, you might get some decent savings on anything you need to buy too.
2. Ask For A Raise
If you’ve been at the same salary for some time, you might be able to get a raise. This is one of the best options, as it is a consistent increase that doesn’t require extra effort.
Still, actually asking for the raise can be nerve-wracking. It’s best to spend some time preparing for the process. Make a list of reasons why you deserve a raise and be prepared to argue your point. Focus on remaining respectful throughout the process, even if the answer is no.
Earn Money With Some Side Hustles
There are plenty of easy and simple ways to earn a little extra cash. These might not be consistent or sustainable ways to earn, but they’re still useful, especially when finances are tight.
3. Offer Local Services
There are plenty of simple local services that you can offer to get some extra cash on the side. Mowing the lawns in summer and shoveling snow in the winter are the most common examples. I’m sure you can think of others too, like cleaning windows, clearing out the gutters or weeding the garden.
You’re bound to get some interest, as long as your prices are reasonable. If you do a good job, you’ll find that people call you back time and time again.
Promoting this type of service often involves going door-to-door. You can also try advertising on Craigslist, in local newspapers, or even just printing flyers. The latter approaches are less intimidating than knocking on someone’s door, but it may take longer to get a response too. Connect on Facebook to friends and family to put out the word.
Know your audience. Don't frame the situation as them helping you because you need extra money. Frame it as you're helping them, such as charging a low-fee to mow lawns of senior citizens, or trim difficult-to-reach trees for people that don't own landscaping equipment.
4. Ask Local Businesses
You can also go door-to-door with local businesses. Many won’t be looking for new employees but may have a few tasks that they could use a hand with. Of course, manual labor is an option, such as washing windows or cleaning up landscaping, but they may already have people on staff to do this. Making mail runs, typing up paperwork, answering phones…anything is on the table at this point. It's kind of a long-shot to walk in and score an odd-job like this, but you never know. Weirder things have happened and it's easy to ask.
This type of work will often pay in cash, the day you do the work, so turnaround could be quick.
It’s often surprising the types of opportunities that you can find this way. You might even end up with a whole new way to earn money.
5. Create A Mobile App
If you have some knowledge and creativity, you could build your own mobile app. This process has become easier over time and there are plenty of tutorials out there to teach you the various processes and what you can expect.
Just make sure you do the research and planning stages first. You’re not going to earn much from an app if it’s simply a copy of what is already on the market. Look for a need that isn’t currently being solved or an alternative way to address a challenge.
One strategy I have yet to explore, but sounds interesting, is app development for local businesses. Domino's has their own app – but does Joe's Pizza from down the corner have one? There are very basic, cookie-cutter business ideas like “online shopping”, “order tracking”, or “product previews” you could pitch to local shops. Would you rather drop into a boutique not knowing what clothing available or preview it online before you go?
6. Rent Out Your Spare Room
If you have extra space in your house, what about renting out the room? This is a consistent way to earn extra money and it doesn’t involve all that much work on your part. The biggest challenge is learning to adjust to having one more person in the house.
Make sure you’re careful about how you advertise the room, along with who you accept to fill it. You want to be certain that you end up with someone who you can at least tolerate.
If a roommate isn’t an option, you could rent out the spare room as storage space. You’ll often find that the demand is high, especially as using a storage container can be fraught with difficulties. Just be sure that you spell out the terms and conditions clearly so that you’re not stuck with someone’s junk for years.
7. Get Cash Back
There are various cashback apps and programs that essentially provide you with discounts. You can also look at coupons and loyalty programs. This isn’t quite the same as earning extra money. Instead, you’re decreasing the amount that you spend.
The outcome is still powerful. Anything that lowers your spending gives you more money at the end of the day, which can be put towards bills.
8. Lower Your Costs
While we’re on the topic, it’s worth seriously taking a look at your current bills. It’s often easier to cut back your spending than it is to find extra ways of earning. For example, how often do you get coffee away from home? What about fast food?
Monthly bills are another example. You may pay some membership fees for things that you hardly ever use or may be paying for multiple entertainment options. Cutting these down might not be fun, but it’s less work than increasing your income.
- Get rid of your gym membership for $50/month and do running/bodyweight exercises
- Stop getting Starbucks for $5/day
- Cut out eating out and save $50/week
That's $400/month right there you could be saving. Obviously not everyone can cut down to zero, but seriously take a look at your budget and decide what you need and what you want.
Start Your Own Business (It's Easier Than You Think!)
These ways to earn are more involved than the previous examples and you probably won’t see income immediately. Despite this, they’re powerful approaches. These can provide long-term ways to boost your earnings. Some could even replace your full-time job in time.
9. Become A Freelancer
Freelancing online work is a popular way to earn. It’s a particularly good choice if you have unusual skills that are in demand. The concept basically means that you’re selling your services. You can be a freelancer for pretty much any skill, although the competition and demand vary dramatically.
Some of the most common examples include writing, graphic design and website development. Freelance writing is by far the most popular, partly because writing is a common skill and sounds like an easy way to earn. Many freelance writers do well for themselves, getting decent pay with no shortage of work.
There are many ways to find jobs as a freelancer, including sites like Upwork, promoting through your own website, advertising on Craigslist, in-person marketing and using social media.
Just be aware that the process takes time. Freelancers normally need to establish a reputation in the field first and find good clients. This is particularly time-consuming for fields like freelance writing, where the competition is fierce.
10. Start An Online Business
The online world is booming, as many people turn to online shopping to research and even buy products. It is a very lucrative market that will only expand, as people continue to prioritize convenience and selection.
Affiliate marketing is one technique that you can rely on. This approach allows you to promote products that you haven’t created and don’t physically own. You’re simply directing people to where they can buy the product or service. When they do so, you make a commission.
The style means that you don’t have to make individual sales. You can also scale up your efforts over time. What you promote is entirely up to you. There are many great niches to choose from and thousands of individual affiliate programs to choose from.
If you take this approach, make sure you get reliable information from the beginning. Too many sites claim to have amazing secrets that revolutionize affiliate marketing. Most of these provide low-quality guidance and may even decrease your chances of success. This is where I built my first website in 2010, and started my upward trajectory to having a full time online business today.
Get Out Of Debt
The toughest thing to change, but sometimes the most obvious solution to the problem of bills….is to not have so many bills. You won't like this, but if you have a car payment, consider selling it and taking the cash to buy a used car with no financing. That'll save you a few hundred dollars per month, even if you take a loss on the car (which you can probably write off on your taxes).
Any other consumer credit card debt that's accruing interest? Work on paying off those debts, the cut up your credit cards.
If you're struggling to pay the bills you should never have something like a timeshare or boat that's financed.
What's Going To Work For You?
It would be impossible to include all the ways to earn extra money in a single list, there are simply too many of them. You need to figure out what's realistic for you, your skills, location, and life goals. Some “early retirement” fanatics cut their cost of living to $10k per year and live off of a small amount of stock dividends with a minimalist lifestyle. In other words, if you're spending $500/month on food you can make some serious changes!
Some people have six kids and simply can't find the time for a side gig, and can't take food from their kids mouths. I don't have a great option for these guys off the top of my head, but my point is that everyone's different, so you need to find a balance that works for you.
Far too many places make absurd claims about earning money. That includes hype about passive income or making money with the push of a button. Most programs that do so are either scams or junk products. Even the half decent ones don’t live up to their claims.
Many people, especially Americans, are living a lifestyle they can't afford, and wasting all their free time with entertainment rather than building potentially life changing income sources for themselves with investing, side gigs, and small business ventures. Get your bills in order, then get busy building a lifestyle you love!